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Home modifications

Improving safety in your home by installing hand rails or a ramp can help you manage more easily in your home if you have a disability or an injury.

What you can get help with

The most common things people get help with are:

  • fitting handrails or shower rails
  • installing ramps or a lift
  • widening doorways
  • converting their bathroom to a wet room
  • lowering the kitchen bench.

The first step is to get advice about equipment or changes that would make your home safer and easier for you to manage.

How to ask for government help

The type of help you can get from government depends on your personal situation.

To apply you must have:

  • health problems due to old age
  • a disability that will last for more than 6 months and stops you from doing everyday tasks, or
  • an injury or disability as the result of an accident.

You must also be eligible for publicly funded healthcare.

Getting publicly funded health services

The modifications must help you:

  • to get around, and in and out of your home
  • to return to or keep living in your home safely, or
  • care for your children if you’re their main carer.

Note:You do not need to be on a benefit to ask for home modifications.

If you have a long-term disability or illness

You can get help to work out what modifications you need by contacting a Ministry of Health (MoH) Equipment and Modifications Services (EMS) assessor. All EMS assessors for housing are occupational therapists.

You can find an EMS assessor by contacting:

  • your local District Health Board (DHB)
  • the Needs Assessment Service Coordination (NASC) team
  • your doctor, or
  • Occupational Therapy New Zealand.

My DHB

NASCs — regional contacts details

Find an occupational therapist

You cannot get funding from MoH for modifications that:

  • have been done already or have been funded before — unless there’s an important reason for that
  • are standard fittings or general maintenance
  • are short-term, for example, help you for only 2 or 3 years.

Housing modifications for disabled people

Getting the work done

If the EMS assessor recommends some modifications, they:

  • help you to apply to MoH, and Work and Income for funding
  • work with you and the organisations that do the work until the modifications are completed.

Organisations that do the work

If you live in Auckland or Northland, then the work is done by AccessAble. If you live anywhere else in New Zealand, the modifications are done by Enable NZ.

AccessAble

Enable NZ

Paying for the work

You can only apply for funding from MoH if the changes cost $200 or more. If the cost is going to be more than $25,000, MoH does a special review.

Funding for modifications is limited. MoH works out who needs the funding most by looking at how much you’ll benefit compared with other people who have asked for funding.

If modifications cost less than $200

If the cost of the modifications is less than $200, contact Work and Income to ask about getting an Advance Payment of Benefit, a Recoverable Assistance Payment or a Special Needs Grant to pay for the changes you need.

Advance Payment of Benefit

Recoverable Assistance Payment

Special Needs Grant

Income and asset test

If the cost is over $8,076, Enable NZ or AccessAble help you to get a financial assessment from Work and Income. Work and Income uses the assessment to decide how much of the full cost the MoH will pay for. The financial assessment takes into account:

  • the cost of the modifications
  • your living expenses
  • how much you earn and, if applicable, the other adults who live with you, eg your partner or adult children
  • the money or other assets you have.

As a guide, if your weekly income is more than $20 above your essential living costs, the amount you get reduces by $1,000 for each $10 of extra income.

Modifying your home: income and cash asset test for housing modifications

If you have a disability because of an accident or injury

If you need help because of an injury, the health professional treating you lodges a claim with the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC).

ACC: making a claim

If your claim is accepted, your ACC case owner arranges help for you. They carry out a Social Rehabilitation Assessment to work out what modifications you need to your home. If your injury is serious and going to affect you for a long time, they do a Support Needs Assessment.

How ACC can help you: housing

If you’re a Kāinga Ora tenant

Kāinga Ora has an agreement with the Ministry of Health (MoH) and ACC to modify houses for any tenants who have a disability because of their health or an injury.

If you’re an existing tenant, contact customer services at Kāinga Ora.
Freephone: 0800 801 601

If the house can be modified, a housing advisor asks you to contact your doctor for a needs assessment. The housing advisor also contacts your tenancy manager to let them know that you have asked for some modifications.

Getting a needs assessment

If the needs assessment shows that you need some modifications to your home, the Needs Assessment Service Coordination (NASC) team arranges for an Equipment and Modifications Services (EMS) assessor — often an occupational therapist — to visit you to find out exactly what modifications you need.

The EMS assessor makes a recommendation to Kāinga Ora that:

  • modifications should be made to your home, or
  • you should be transferred to a house that is already modified or can be more easily modified.

Getting the work done

Once Kāinga Ora approves the modifications, the EMS assessor recommends MoH funding. When this is confirmed, Enable NZ or AccessAble appoint a contractor to make the changes to your home.

If you live in Auckland or Northland, then the work is done by AccessAble. If you live anywhere else in New Zealand, the modifications are done by Enable NZ.

AccessAble

Enable NZ

If you’re a veteran

Veterans’ Affairs has 2 programmes that help with modifications to your home.

  • Veterans’ Independence Programme — if your service qualifies, you can apply for help to make modifications to your home
  • Rehabilitation — this provides modifications to your home if you have a service-related injury or illness.

Contact Veterans’ Affairs to talk to a case manager about what you need. They’ll:

  • help you get the support you’re entitled to from other government agencies
  • recommend help from Veterans’ Affairs if no other service is available.

General support for veterans & families

Freephone: 0800 483 8372
Email: veterans@nzdf.mil.nz

If you’re under 65 and have a chronic health condition

If you need modifications to your home and have long-term serious health problems, contact the Needs Assessment Service Coordination (NASC) team at your local DHB to find out about Long Term Supports – Chronic Health Conditions (LTSCHC) funding.

NASC — contacts details

This funding is available to people who do not qualify for:

  • other DHB funding, eg funding that helps people 65 years or older
  • disability support services paid for by the Ministry of Health.

If the NASC team thinks you qualify, they’ll ask an Equipment and Modifications Services (EMS) assessor — usually an occupational therapist — to visit you. If they agree that you need this help, they’ll recommend that the changes you need in your home are paid for by the LTSCHC fund.

Getting the work done

If you live in Auckland or Northland, then the work is done by AccessAble. If you live anywhere else in New Zealand, the modifications are done by Enable NZ.

AccessAble

Enable NZ

If you cannot get government help

You can pay for services yourself. If you have a needs assessment, ask the team to suggest services in your area.

65 years or older

Your SuperGold Card offers discounts for many businesses that provide building services.

SuperGold special offers

If you live in social housing

If you live in social housing run by a charity or private organisation, contact them to find out if they offer help with house modifications.

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